Friday, April 12, 2013


By John McKee

It isn't every weekend that there is a race for both 55 and 60+ racers and have a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow like a cash purse but this weekend came up roses. The weekend of April 6th and 7th had TWO races that were 55 and 60+ friendly. Saturday saw the very challenging Rosena Ranch 2 and Sunday saw the prestigious Redlands Criterium run in conjunction with the Redlands Classic pro stage race. RR 2 had $200 for both categories going 4 deep in each while Redlands had $225 for both cats going 4 deep in each as well. Pretty darn good!
Rosena Ranch is on a rolling 3.74 mile course with grades up to 3.7%. The race was being run counter clock wise the same direction of vehicular traffic flow. Though the course was closed to cars there was an off road trail that intersected with the course. In prior races some kind of vehicle got on the course so it was decided it would be safer to go the same direction that a motorcycle/car would go as speeds would exceed 40 mph for the bike racers.
Sign ups were lower for the 2nd Rosena Ranch race. 55+ sign ups went from 29 for the 1st race to 24. 60s was worse going from 22 which was a season high for any race to 15. Either some had their fill of this tough race, one time was enough or burnout. I do know that this is a flat belly race and a race for the younger racer. I heard talk about racing is hard and should be challenging but add some extra weight, extra years (lower VOMax) and it really gets hard to the point of just keeping up being a major challenge. I say that the racing peleton can provide plenty of challenges for most every racer to motivate them to get faster, lighter, healthier, etc. Aren't those worthy goals? Would you be so motivated to eat right if you weren't racing? Would you do those intervals that could make you faster? Would you be doing core strength exercises or go to the gym in the off season to get stronger? Maybe NOT! Yes, racing is plenty hard but there are plenty of benefits and I don't see that in rec riders that go for a spin on a Saturday or Sunday morning.
OK RR 2. The weather was good. The start time was excellent at 9:30 am. Thank you. Thank you. It's only fair that the new guys, gals, young lads and lasses go 1st. Time in grade should count for something.
Their off at Rosena Ranch 2- Photo courtesy of Ken Hill
 The racers started off at the prescribed time running counter clockwise. The race would have a slightly different feel. The race started off pretty fast as expected. Mark Hoffenberg always likes to make the beginning of races as hard as possible. This is a course that can make people hurt. Malcolm Hill would be a person to watch here for sure. I had no idea what Jay Wolkoff could do on a course like this. Obviously he is very strong so anything was possible. One thing I noticed when we started racing was how strong John Roest looked. "Big John" must go 210 to 220 pounds and he was moving around pretty easy. I got on his wheel a lot. What a wind block!
The turnaround at the bottom was a little different considering the direction we went. Maybe a little easier but the pitch of the road was going to be pretty much the same. Your just on a different side of the road.  Early moves by Mark and others were covered. Brad House threw down the gauntlet early but it just made the pace slightly faster and the race harder. All good for most. The race didn't explode into 2 packs like last time. Not sure why.
Malcolm Hill with Jeff Moreton midway through the race-Photo courtesy of Ken Hill

A break did occur about midway through the race and it was Malcolm Hill that got things going for the Amgen Masters race team. Rokform/Rock N Road would have to be in any break or it just wouldn't work. Jeff Moreton was the man for his team to match pace with Malcolm. The 2 of them got a decent gap on the field but they weren't out of sight by any means. I am not sure if Jeff was working it with  Malcolm or just sitting on but he fell off the pace at some point and that was the going to be it for Mr.Hill. Mark organized a chase that quickly reeled in the lone leading rider.
Each lap was pretty hard especially the downside turnaround. The leaders sprint out and it is uphill for a ways so you have to suffer to stay in contact. Lap  4 I just stayed on "Big John" Roest because we were a bit off the leaders but he pulled hard and caught back on just before we headed back down. That first downside after the turnaround was a blessing. A recovery gem.
We started lap 5 and it looked like a bunch sprint to me. For all the jockeying and Cleave Law gave it a go on the last uphill late in the race but nothing was going to work at this point. The bell lap came and after we made the 1st turn it got really fast. On the downhill after we went by the start/finish line we hit 41.5 mph. The downside turn came and everyone was holding back and keeping decent position. The sprint was going to be different than the 1st race. The group would be larger and the pace would be faster than the field sprint in the 1st race. The lead up pace was also a little harder and the sprint was going to start further out from the finish line. I was right there and felt good most of the race but knew I wouldn't have anything for the sprint.
This course fits Hoffy very well and he started the sprint. All hands on deck! It's a sprint to the finish. Hoffy got a bit of a gap and thought maybe he had it but Jay Wolkoff came up on Mark's left to make it a photo finish. Both threw their bikes and Mark won by inches.
Mark Hoffenberg edges Jay Wolkoff for the 55+ victory-Photo courtesy of Ken Hill

Field sprint shows Gary Shuey finishing 2nd in 60+ and Howard Miller finishing 3rd. Kal Szkalak has already ridden through for the 60+ victory-Photo courtesy of Ken Hill
In 3rd place was Bill "The Unknown" Pickard. That was quite a kit he had on. A splashy red, white and blue thing. He definitely stood out. Bill was followed in by Malcolm Hill,  Steve Hensler and Brad "Never has an opinion" House. The 60+ race went pretty easily to Kal Szkalak. Gary Shuey and Howard Miller rode very well and placed 2nd and 3rd respectively in 60+. 4th went to Kirk Freeman and 5th went to Steve "William Powell" Bernede. 6th went to another unknown rider by the name of Roy Turner. Don't even know what team he rode for. I believe he was wearing a pro Garmin jersey.
There are riders out there and it sure would do them and everyone else some good if they would show up more often. No crashes and a good hard and fast race at Rosena Ranch. Thanks to the promoter for putting 55 and 60+ riders in the event and with a generous purse to boot! THANK YOU! It felt good just finishing this race. I was the oldest rider in the event and Bruce Steele was the 1st 65+ rider to finish. This was a hard course but challenge yourself. I did and had fun and got a great workout though I didn't finish well.
Sunday was the Redlands Criterium. The turnout was light and only one of last year's podium placers were present and that was Malcolm Hill. Redlands is a fun course and love to do it though it is pretty hard. Redlands favors bike handling and bike strength. Of course a good sprint nevers hurts. Malcolm Hill would definitely be the man to watch. Without him I would surely predict a bunch sprint but Malcolm was going to try and get away. Cut the odds down to a few strong riders like himself.
The start of the Redlands Criterium-Photo courtesy of Ken Hill
It takes a bit to get the feel of the course once the race starts  and riders seemed shy except for Don Davidson. Don has done this race many times. Don was out there looking good off the front. It was inevitable though with the entire race left that the peleton wouldn't let him stay away. We were assured by the officials that we would get 40 minutes. We were delayed because a fund raising ride called the RUFF Ride started on the course and got to do one lap. Wow was that slow! Lol. A 100 k ride to raise funds for a local dog park. All good except it took a while to get these guys and gals and dogies in dog trailers off on their adventure. Hope the funding was successful.
I was going to watch Kal and John Roest. I had been 4th a number of times and wanted on the podium this year. The 55+ race was up in the air. No clear favorite though Malcolm was the strongest and Cyril Hunte was the fastest.
"Blue Boy" Cramer getting things going. He wore blue because of his nick name. He may be wearing a darker blue coming up-Photo courtesy of Ken Hill

UC Cyclery team leader Kal Szkalak looking for teammate Steve Hensler-Photo courtesy of Ken Hill

 There were a lot of primes and Cyril used his speed to pick up most of them. The primes drove the race. We got a 20 minute notice with 20 to go or so we thought. A $90 prime came up and the pace really picked up. I stayed near the front but wasn't planning on contesting the prime sprint and going into the red zone. The race favorites were all up front and Cyril won the $90. When is the best time to counter? Off of a hard prime sprint. It worked at Ontario last week. Malcolm of course knew this. Once Cyril came off Malcolm's wheel and won the sprint, Malcolm took off. Cyril sat up. I was 2 riders back and saw the move and thought damn! Cyril is just going to let them go? I sat there like a dummy. Steve Hensler was tight to Malcolm and Kal came into the action. John Roest came later to the party and tried to get on and did within a lap. He was very close but it took a lap for him to get on. One other rider was with them but got dropped quickly.
Malcolm makes his move. All in!-Photo courtesy of Ken Hill
 One lap around and the break group wasn't that far off the front. SC Velo had to make a decision. They had the most riders. Rick Swanson conferred with team captain Mark Planellas and excepted Mark's call to not chase. Not sure I agree with this because Cyril could win the whole thing but they had John Roest in for 2nd in 60+ and Cyril could win the field sprint for 3rd in 55+ and have 2 riders on the podium. It was good thinking but they were giving up a chance to win the 55+ race. They were worried that "Big John" might not get on the podium in a bunch sprint. Don't know because it didn't happen.
Without SC Velo chasing the break group wasn't going to get caught. No Swami's or Rokform so the field was light on strength. 4 guys were now racing for the win in both categories. Malcolm pulled a lot of the last lap and Kal came around for the overall win and the 60+ win. Malcolm did hang on for the 55+ victory and a winner's jersey. Steve Hensler crossed the line for 2nd in 55+ and "Big John" rolled across for 2nd in 60+.
Kal Szkalak is the 1st rider to the line with Malcolm Hill winning the 55+ race-Photo courtesy of Ken Hill

3rd place was still out there in both categories in the peleton. We got a sign of 4 laps to go. We WERE NOT going to get 40 minutes of racing. It was going to be more like 30. Bummer. Don't think it would have made a difference in the race. The peleton kept a steady pace. My teammate Howard Miller was moving up and I was thinking...hey he got 3rd yesterday. Lol. If Howard finished ahead of me that was good. We went around for the last lap and I got a little far back and started to fight back on the downhill and was right next to Howard. I didn't see crafty Don Kimper on the inside. A Citrus Valley Velo rider was right ahead of Howard and I and seemed out of position and spooked. He banged into Cyril and went down. I was thinking this maybe another time on the pavement but the rider slid from right to left since we were starting to corner. I slowed up and Howard had to slow up more than I did.
Cyril rebounded well and went wide and cut into the last corner and really wasn't contested for 3rd place in 55+. I came around the last corner and thought the 55s weren't doing that well and gave a half hearted effort and saw Don Kimper to my left after I crossed the line. Bonehead McKee! Not sure I could have caught him but it was possible thinking back on it. Don was inside the crash and didn't have to slow. Don was 3rd in 60+, I was 4th(again!) and Howard was 5th.
Field sprint with Cyril already having crossed the line-Photo courtesy of Ken Hill

No one else went down which was good. Sorry to see anyone hit the pavement. This is always a great event with the course, the vibe, the payouts, the podiums, the winner's jerseys, podium girls and a lot more. A really fun event. Too bad we had a poor turnout. Burnout seems to be setting in. It was a great opporunity of racing for both 55s and 60s this weekend. Lukewarm response by everyone. Complete results below. I was again the oldest rider at Redlands and Don Kimper was the 1st 65+ rider across the line. All the photos but the podiums were courtesy of Ken Hill. You can see all his photos at That's all for now folks! Train hard and race safe!
60+ podium- Roest 2, Szkalak 1, & Kimper 3

55+ podium- Hensler 2, Hill 1 & Hunte 3
Rosena Ranch 2  (Rank 1.5)
Masters 55+
Place License Name Team SoCal Points
1 45461 Mark Hoffenberg Rokform/Rock N' Road 21
2 38811 Jay Wolkoff Radsport Cycling Team 17
3 291027 Bill Pinckard Microseal Racing Team 15
4 156650 Malcolm Hill Breakaway from Cancer Masters 13
5 15874 Steve Hensler UC Cyclery/JW Floors 12
6 16837 Brad House Big Orange Cycling 10
7 274212 David Benner Wolf Pack Cycling 9
8 203308 Daniel Yeager Swami's Cycling Club 7
9 25023 Jeffrey Moreton Rokform/Rock N' Road 6
10 189931 Kasey Haws Team Redlands 4
11 222764 Thomas Buescher South Bay Wheelmen 3
12 45582 Cleaveran Law Lightning Velo 2
14 69952 Robert Willcox UC Cyclery/JW Floors 0
15 174212 Brian Carrico PAA/REMAX 0
16 61353 Reed Moore UC Cyclery/JW Floors 0
17 49191 Kim Bleth Rokform/Rock N' Road 0
18 148853 Dale Raymond Southern California Velo 0
19 23303 Michael McConnell UC Cyclery/JW Floors 0
Total # of riders 24      
Rosena Ranch 2  (Rank 1.5)
Masters 60+
Place License Name Team SoCal Points
1 54522 Kalman Szkalak UC Cyclery/JW Floors 21
2 44197 Gary Shuey Swami's Cycling Club 17
3 49424 Howard Miller OCW/Paramount Racing 15
4 12354 Kirk Freeman CA Pools / Primal 13
5 126351 Steve Bernede Team Werks 12
6 163360 Roy Turner 10
7 277180 John Roest Southern California Velo 9
8 236498 Bruce Steele South Bay Wheelmen 7
9 195498 Donald Kimper UC Cyclery/JW Floors 6
10 269972 Fred Haim Michelob Ultra - La Grange +21 4
11 7677 Jim Cooke CA Pools / Primal 3
12 180386 John McKee Paramount Racing 2
13 254258 Hugh Lothrop 0
14 57891 Bruce Geddes 0
Total # of riders 15    

Redlands Criterium  (Rank 1.0)
Masters 55+
Place License Name Team SoCal Points
1 156650 Malcolm Hill Breakaway from Cancer Masters 14
2 15874 Steve Hensler UC Cyclery/JW Floors 11
3 52086 Cyril Hunte Southern California Velo 10
4 93812 Donald Denegal Velo Allegro 9
5 107559 Rodney Malloy Bahati Foundation-CA 8
6 36299 Daniel Valentin Citrus Valley Velo 7
7 104199 Mark Parra Team Redlands 6
8 177958 Kevin Ryan METALMTN Cycling 5
9 271566 Alex Gonzalez Bahati Foundation p/b Major Motion Cycli 4
10 120335 Dan DeMuth Team Redlands 3
11 202041 Mark Planellas Southern California Velo 2
12 58799 John Ward Citrus Valley Velo 1
13 54084 Lothar Cramer 0
14 34753 Rick Swanson Southern California Velo 0
Total # of riders 16      
Redlands Criterium  (Rank 1.0)
Masters 60+
Place License Name Team SoCal Points
1 54522 Kalman Szkalak UC Cyclery/JW Floors 14
2 277180 John Roest Southern California Velo 11
3 195498 Donald Kimper UC Cyclery/JW Floors 10
4 180386 John McKee Paramount Racing 9
5 49424 Howard Miller OCW/Paramount Racing 8
6 50765 Richard Roberson UC Cyclery/JW Floors 7
7 245777 Steven Borer UC Cyclery/JW Floors 6
8 126668 Joey Valdivia UC Cyclery/JW Floors 5
9 45047 Glenn Baldwin SLO Nexus-Gym One 4
10 101582 William Carvin 3
11 7677 Jim Cooke CA Pools / Primal 2
Total # of riders 13    

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